U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Intelligence Requirements in Hostage Situations

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: 2001 Pages: 61-68
Frank A. Bolz Jr.
James L. Greenstone Ed.D.
Date Published
8 pages
This article looks at the use of intelligence as a critical factor in police operations during a hostage situation.
The taking of hostages is as old as crime and time itself, the techniques to deal with this type of criminality has changed dramatically. Intelligence is an important and critical law enforcement technique in the life and death drama of a hostage or barricade situation. The best way to avoid defeat in these situations is to know when and where not to engage, as well as when to engage. In local law enforcement, they must play with the hand that has been dealt to them, because there is no other agency to handle the immediate situation. In law enforcement there are three key elements to insure success: (1) intelligence, (2) communication, and (3) discipline of firepower. This article covers the first element, intelligence. There are basic questions that need to be answered during a hostage or barricade situation: who, what, when, where, how, and why. Each of these questions must be answered some to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the circumstances. This gathered information is the intelligence needed for both the negotiators and the tactical officers. Each question is discussed in detail. References